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Facebook to give employees $1,000 bonuses amid the coronavirus outbreak

The money's meant to help those working remotely.

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Angela Lang/CNET
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Facebook told its employees it would pay each of them a $1,000 bonus to help with working remotely amid the coronavirus pandemic, the company said Tuesday. 

The social media giant has more than 44,900 workers worldwide, and the move highlights what tech companies are doing to help soften the impact of the virus' spread. It comes as officials in six Bay Area counties, including San Francisco, have ordered a near-lockdown, which started Tuesday.

Many tech workers, including at Facebook, had already been asked to work from home, before the announcement. Employees can use the $1,000 bonus however they wish, such as purchasing office equipment or paying for unexpected childcare, according to the company. 

The Information, which first reported about the cash bonuses, said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told employees about the perk early Tuesday in an internal company notice. It's unclear if the bonus will also be given to contractors. 

The spread of the coronavirus, which causes a respiratory illness known as COVID-19, has disrupted businesses throughout the world, including in Silicon Valley. Facebook said in February that it was canceling its F8 developer conference in San Jose. Instead, the company plans to host local events and broadcast live videos. Facebook also said in February that the coronavirus would likely impact production of its Oculus virtual reality headsets. 

On Tuesday, Facebook said it was awarding $100 million in grants and ad credits to assist small businesses. 

Google, Apple and Amazon didn't immediately respond to a request for comment about whether they were also offering their employees bonuses. Workday said earlier this month that it will giving some employees two weeks pay as a bonus.

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Twitter said in March that it'll reimburse employees, including hourly workers, for home office setup expenses and fees that parents are paying for extra day care. The company didn't say if there's a limit to those reimbursements. 

Working from home has been "messy" for some Silicon Valley tech companies, such as Apple, because of the secrecy surrounding the release of new products, The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend.